New Stillwater bridge: As deadline and redistricting loom, pressure is on Bachmann

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A rendering of the controversial freeway-style bridge design currently on the table.
After the upcoming election, Michele Bachmann will no longer represent Stillwater. Nonetheless, she remains "absolutely committed" to building a new Minnesota-to-Wisconsin bridge in the Stillwater area.

Time is running short for the bridge design currently under consideration. In response to a letter from Gov. Dayton informing her that the state will use money set aside for bridge construction for other transportation projects if the U.S. House doesn't approve the bridge by March 15, Bachmann said she remains devoted to "seeing the project through to completion."

The Stillwater area is now in Betty McCollum's 4th congressional district. McCollum, an opponent of the four-lane freestyle-style bridge design currently under consideration, issued a statement saying "Dayton is right that the burden of passing this legislation squarely rests with Congresswoman Bachmann."

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McCollum, the soon-to-be Stillwater representative, doesn't support the current bridge design.
"It's doubtful this flawed bill will pass the House on the Governor's timeline," McCollum continued. "I will continue working for a more fiscally-responsible, appropriately-scaled replacement bridge for Stillwater."

The bridge design supported by Dayton and Bachmann would essentially extend Highway 36 from Oak Park Heights into Wisconsin, where it would link up with Highway 64. It would replace the 81-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge and cross the St. Croix River five miles north of I-94.
Bachmann has eight legislative days to secure a needed federal exemption before Dayton's deadline.

Project cost is estimated to be up to $690 million, divided between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Federal action is needed because the project needs an exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to proceed.

That exemption has already been approved by the U.S. Senate, where it was supported by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, but the House bill is still languishing in committee and only eight legislative days remain between now and Dayton's March 15 deadline.

Does Bachmann have the political clout to get the exemption fast-tracked through the House? We'll find out over the next three weeks. It's her last shot to get it done before redistricting puts the project under McCollum's less-supportive purview.

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6 comments
Jason Dorweiler
Jason Dorweiler

Its too bad this was just approved by by the house today. What a waste of 700 million. 

Serotoninsnax
Serotoninsnax

what is on the wisconsin side that they need such a big bridge when it is only 5 miles north of 94 and the hudson area?  Wouldn't it be better to improve the streets and highways that connect to 94. And still there isn't a bus service from Lakeland to the cities? But there are park and ride lots already there for car pools. Rail service would be nice. Scott Walker didn't want anything to do with rail going across wisconsin.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

"Michele Bachmann will no longer represent Stillwater"Ya, Betty McCollum will represent Stillwater.  And who does Betty get some campaign contributions from?  The Sierra Club.  Who opposes the bridge?  The Sierra Club.Who has shown strong opposition for a practical bridge crossing the river?  Betty McCollum.I say; good luck Betty convincing Stillwater voters you are the candidate for them.

Those Judges sure did screw Betty over with redistricting.

Zorromcgee
Zorromcgee

Betty says ""I will continue working for a more fiscally-responsible, appropriately-scaled replacement bridge for Stillwater."the jerk calls this-" strong opposition for a practical bridge crossing the river"literacy and logic are not the jerks strong suits.

Phoenix
Phoenix

 Bull.  Bachmann never won Stillwater.  And even if Stillwater is filled stem-to-stern with Boondoggle backers (which it's not: see also http://www.rippleinstillwater...., Betty has enough St. Paul voters to swamp the Boondogglers. 

By the way, siince when do Cons like you back a boondoggle that will cost three times as much as the new I-35 bridge, carry one-tenth the traffic, and be totally unnecessary per even the bridge pimps at MnDOT?

pizza
pizza

"Betty McCollum will represent Stillwater." You said it best, friend!

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